The best raw talent ever.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the most physically dominant specimen to play football. Maybe ever.
The fastest player in the world at 6'2", with the most powerful shots that he can hit from 20 to 30 to 40 feet. His dribbling and ball-handling at that height are among the best, even if it might be gimmicky. He seemingly has no weaknesses.
When he claims, humbly, as he has many times, that he wants "to be the greatest ever," most people with a keen eye think that he actually has a chance.
The will, the raw talent and physical attributes are there to be the greatest the sport has ever seen.
But he does have a weakness, which is under-reported.
Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Platini, Zidane, Ronaldo
All these players are in the conversation for greatest of all time. Sure they were fast, but not enough to completely overmatch most top professionals. They were usually marginally quick, physically. They had great burst but it was only a secondary reason for them dominating.
What these players did have, what made them unstoppable and what makes them contenders of the GOAT title, was that they were the fastest thinkers of their era.
They didn't actually have to think about the right decision, how to get by defenders, dribbling, left or right, what body fake to use, which opening to take, where to pass, where to go one on one, anticipate the help defender, fake the double team. They just did it.
Out-thinking the defense
They were the most intelligent of their era in what they did. Intelligence in an instant. Geniuses at out-thinking the defense in an instant.
Lionel Messi is the one player who has that quality right now. That is why he is the best player in the world. When people point out he isn't as good at heading or finishing, it should be pointed out that he is good at being a genius at the game of football, regardless of physical attributes, which counts for more.
Ronaldo fans reading the paragraphs above, should realize that, this is the reason he doesn't get that kind of credit. Instead of out-thinking the defense, Ronaldo consistently over-thinks and over dribbles or does one thing too many times.
But then we see the glimpses of genius that is latent in him. When he stops thinking and just does, he becomes unstoppable. We get enough glimpses for him to score a lot of beautiful goals, but he does not seem to understand the team game and making the correct decision or understanding the timing of how to use his plethora of skills.
Jose Mourinho is the best manager of the past 10 years. His best quality is understanding the strengths and weaknesses of players to fit into his system, where they get fewer chances and shots at goals. So the strikers in his system understand the game better and make the correct decisions most of the time, because they know they won't get many chances.
He is the best manager at instilling an understanding of his system, intelligence and understanding of the team concept in his players, better than any manager, ever.
Prides of Portugal
So comes the defining time in the careers of the two greatest football talents Portugal has produced. Cristiano Ronaldo will try to lead Madrid to a third Champions League trophy for Mourinho, handing him the title of greatest manager ever. Jose Mourinho will try to teach the intelligent decision-making ability in Cristiano that he instilled in most players that he coached.
If he succeeds, for the next three years, Cristiano should challenge Zidane, Ronaldo, and Messi as the best player of the past 20 years and if he transfers it into a World Cup win for Portugal, he will challenge Maradona and Pele as the greatest to ever play this game.
Can he succeed?
When was the last time Jose Mourinho don't succeed at something?
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